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so embarrassing, social workers detained me in the subway threatening to call the police - Page 2

post #21 of 87
Okay, whether they were real social workers or not aside, I am absolutely stunned at people's reactions to this thread! How many times on here has someone come on and said something like, "I was on the subway today and there was this adorable little 2 year old in a stroller and he kept throwing his jacket out (which is TOTALLY age appropriate!) and his mother picked it up, threw it right at him and yelled at him!!!!! I think she poked him as well! I could not believe it! And what is even worse is that no one around her even tried to intervene. If she acts like this in public I can't even begin to imagine what she is doing to that poor child at home." Many, many, many times! Everyone would be responding, "Oh that poor child," or "that must have been terrible to witness mama!" But because it's "one of our own" then all of a sudden it's no big deal? What a horrible double standard! I am not even saying it is a big deal. Have I lost it on my kids? You betcha! Everyone has bad days and everyone does and says things that they regret. That is not my point. My point is that I am just appalled at the double standard. And I am a mandatory reporter (and a student studying to be a social worker) and if I saw someone looking very angry, yelling and throwing a jacket at a BABY, yes I would be obligated to report. It is illegal (at least in Ontario) to strike a child with an object and throwing a jacket at one qualifies.
post #22 of 87
If someone was here complainingg about seeing what the mom described herself doing, I'd probably tell that person to mind their own business, too. And I really doubt tossing a jacket at a child would be considered striking them with an object, but I don't live in Canada, so who knows?
post #23 of 87
There would also be many advocating that things may not be as awful as they appear and encouraging people to give her the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully this thread reinforces that line of thought.
post #24 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
And I am a mandatory reporter (and a student studying to be a social worker) and if I saw someone looking very angry, yelling and throwing a jacket at a BABY, yes I would be obligated to report. It is illegal (at least in Ontario) to strike a child with an object and throwing a jacket at one qualifies.
Seriously?
I would hope that the law would mean that you can't strike a child with a belt, switch, or paddle. Not that you can't strike your child with any object. If a jacket qualifies, so does a baseball you toss for practice, a magazine you throw across the room to your kid, and a french fry in a food fight. You might want to check your interpretation of the law. Meanwhile, I'll avoid Ontario.
post #25 of 87
Yes, be very sure Heavenly that the same people are posting in this supportive thread as would be coming out with flames of judgement on the others! I would not come on and agree that throwing a coat was tantamount to assault and the poor baby and yadda yadda. But sometimes i read those horrible judgy threads and i don't post at all, because there seems to be no point swimming against that tide, when no-one who really cares is reading anyway. And FWIW i've seen plenty of "Oh my the POOR CHILDREN" threads end up being more "get over it, no-one was harmed it was just someone else's bad day up close" too.
post #26 of 87
Um, I'm pretty sure I know exactly where you were from your description of where you were going, etc. I pass through there almost daily. I think, truly, that they were busybodies with no authority of any kind. Plus if you were on the subway platform, they aren't going to be able to call the police. Cell phones don't work on that platform, I know from experience. Tell them to notify the police if they're concerned, but that they have no legal authority over you. Then let go of the stroller so she's holding your stroller with your children and scream for help at her attempted kidnapping of your children.

I've never had anything of the kind happen to me there, but I'll be on the lookout for it! You'd think she'd have enough genuine dangers to children to investigate given that those elevators are some of the most urine-soaked in the whole city and directly above is 3-4 streets full of adult stores with ludicrously explicit windows. Oh, and there was an actual attempted insane-stranger abduction by a man on the street walking by a little boy and his nanny last week. Probably makes screaming that she's kidnapping them more effective, since it's on people's minds. The nanny yelled and hit the man and he dropped the boy and bolted.

A mother yelling at her kids is the very very very very lowest possible ever rung of concern for an actual social worker in that neighborhood. It's NYC, we keep to ourselves as a rule. I can't speak to Canada, but I'll keep that in mind when considering where to move!
post #27 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Okay, whether they were real social workers or not aside, I am absolutely stunned at people's reactions to this thread!

.....

But because it's "one of our own" then all of a sudden it's no big deal? What a horrible double standard!
Well, if you re-read my post, I did NOT say that the women should have ignored what happened. I said that their approach was bad. And it was. These women intervened in a way that was guaranteed to escalate the situation and make everyone feel crappy about it.

I don't condone what the OP did, but from the outset she's acknowledged her mistakes. There seems little point in beating her up about it. If those women had handled the situation with more tact and discretion, then the OP would be posting today about how some nice ladies helped her out on the subway yesterday when she was having a tough time. I've seen a few of those posts here as well, and they are always lovely to read. As for the other "judgement" threads, I try to err on the side of giving others the benefit of the doubt in those threads. I don't think that's a double standard. There's no need to give the OP the benefit of the doubt, since she's already acknowledged how she could have handled things better.
post #28 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post
Seriously?
I would hope that the law would mean that you can't strike a child with a belt, switch, or paddle. Not that you can't strike your child with any object. If a jacket qualifies, so does a baseball you toss for practice, a magazine you throw across the room to your kid, and a french fry in a food fight. You might want to check your interpretation of the law. Meanwhile, I'll avoid Ontario.
Seriously? Obviously intention is the main thing. Accidentally hitting a child with a baseball is very different from hitting them with a jacket. And I doubt you seriously needed me to explain that.
post #29 of 87
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the station for future events. Yesterday was the 200,000 person Village Halloween Parade. Lots of crazy out there yesterday!
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Okay, whether they were real social workers or not aside, I am absolutely stunned at people's reactions to this thread! How many times on here has someone come on and said something like, "I was on the subway today and there was this adorable little 2 year old in a stroller and he kept throwing his jacket out (which is TOTALLY age appropriate!) and his mother picked it up, threw it right at him and yelled at him!!!!! I think she poked him as well! I could not believe it! And what is even worse is that no one around her even tried to intervene. If she acts like this in public I can't even begin to imagine what she is doing to that poor child at home." Many, many, many times! Everyone would be responding, "Oh that poor child," or "that must have been terrible to witness mama!" But because it's "one of our own" then all of a sudden it's no big deal? What a horrible double standard! I am not even saying it is a big deal. Have I lost it on my kids? You betcha! Everyone has bad days and everyone does and says things that they regret. That is not my point. My point is that I am just appalled at the double standard. And I am a mandatory reporter (and a student studying to be a social worker) and if I saw someone looking very angry, yelling and throwing a jacket at a BABY, yes I would be obligated to report. It is illegal (at least in Ontario) to strike a child with an object and throwing a jacket at one qualifies.
Double standard? I have yet to read someone saying that they actively worked to detain another mother because they thought that mother was acting inappropriately towards their child. I have yet to read people congratulating an MDC member for grabbing another mother's stroller. You better believe that if any one grabbed my child (and yes, the stroller my child is in is an extension of my child at that point) in an attempt to stop me will be in a world of hurt. No one, no one, has the right to walk up to a stranger and grab their child.

It is illegal to prevent someone from leaving an area unless you are a police officer of some sort and have a valid reason to detain someone.

And no, throwing something at a child doesn't universally qualify as striking a child with an object. Otherwise it would be illegal to play catch with your kid.
post #31 of 87
I have said stuff to other mothers twice. Once I followed a mother into the bathroom after she called him vile names, grabbed his arm and pulled him into the bathroom. I did not detain her, I stood in the bathroom so that she wouldn't be alone in there and then I asked her to calm down and asked if she needed anything. She calmed down, said she was fine and left. I would never dream of physically detaining her. Another time, I did call the police when I saw two little children sweating in a hot/unattended car. Either it's police worthy (and you call the police) or it's just bothersome and you offer to help, but you don't make up a fake title and physically restrain a stranger.

I don't think it's a double standard at all for the OP to be supported here. You don't threaten to call the police. Either you do it or you don't. And you don't make up a fake title to give yourself perceived authority
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Seriously? Obviously intention is the main thing. Accidentally hitting a child with a baseball is very different from hitting them with a jacket. And I doubt you seriously needed me to explain that.
Her intention seemed to be to get the jacket off the floor and back with her child. She didn't post about rolling her jacket up with the zipper on the outside, and smacking her child repeatedly in the face or on the butt with the jacket. She was angry about having to pick up the jacket again, and frustrated that her child kept dropping it. Most parents would feel the same way. So, she tossed the jacket while angry. It's still not abuse. I didn't read anything that would lead me to believe that she was trying to physically harm her child with the jacket. So, intention being the main thing, I think you need to revisit your position.

If you're a mandatory reporter, you should find out exactly what is and is not considered abuse in your area so you don't end up wasting time and resources.
post #33 of 87
*roll eyes*

If someone posted on here "OMG I saw this woman in the subway yell at her toddler and throw his coat at him!!! She must be so horrible and not as good a mother as I! Should I have called CPS on her?" I (and many others) would say (and have said), "Um, did she hit the child? No? Probably she was having a bad day. It happens. We've all had less-than-stellar moments."
post #34 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly1101 View Post
*roll eyes*

If someone posted on here "OMG I saw this woman in the subway yell at her toddler and throw his coat at him!!! She must be so horrible and not as good a mother as I! Should I have called CPS on her?" I (and many others) would say (and have said), "Um, did she hit the child? No? Probably she was having a bad day. It happens. We've all had less-than-stellar moments."


And if said person had said, "Well I [may have] impersonated a social worker and physically restrained her stroller to prevent her from leaving" they certainly wouldn't have gotten pats on the back here.
post #35 of 87
I would just like to share the Federal US definition of child abuse, so it's clear what guidelines we are talking about:
Quote:
Physical abuse is nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child.2 Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.
Also here is some information on mandated reporters, who they are, what their responsibilities are and what guidelines they follow. Mandated reporters must make a report when they have knowledge of or have a reasonable reason to suspect child abuse. I have no idea how the situation looked to a bystander, but it is possible that they had some reason to feel there was a suspicion of child abuse. Mandated reporters aren't allowed to detain random people on the street, however. That is totally out of line.
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by la mamita View Post
I would just like to share the Federal US definition of child abuse, so it's clear what guidelines we are talking about:


Also here is some information on mandated reporters, who they are, what their responsibilities are and what guidelines they follow. Mandated reporters must make a report when they have knowledge of or have a reasonable reason to suspect child abuse. I have no idea how the situation looked to a bystander, but it is possible that they had some reason to feel there was a suspicion of child abuse. Mandated reporters aren't allowed to detain random people on the street, however. That is totally out of line.
And since they have no idea who the OP is, and no way to contact the police fast enough for the police to question her any way on the spot--no cell service there--there's literally nothing an actual social worker could legally do. And a real social worker would surely know that.
post #37 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
And I am a mandatory reporter (and a student studying to be a social worker) and if I saw someone looking very angry, yelling and throwing a jacket at a BABY, yes I would be obligated to report. It is illegal (at least in Ontario) to strike a child with an object and throwing a jacket at one qualifies.
Report to who and report what? This is a stranger, who isn't going to stay in the vicinity long enough for you to contact anyone who has legally authority to question/detain her; plus if the police don't see her doing anything, they probably can't detain/question her either. You have no name, no address, no identifying information that you can report. And you have no authority to detain, at least not in the United States.

Are there literally zillions of files of "Unknown brunnette apparently-caucasian woman slapped hand of approximately 3 year old child in x location at x time"? That would explain what CPS is wasting time on rather than addressing the truly horrible abuse cases in NYC that even though they're open, active cases, the children are not monitored at all and die or nearly die--see Nixmary Brown.
post #38 of 87
Throwing a jacket back into the stroller with the child is NOTHING like hitting a child with an object.

I sincerely doubt these women were social workers. You should have called the police yourself because grabbing your stroller sounds a bit like attempted abduction.
post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
Either it's police worthy (and you call the police) or it's just bothersome and you offer to help, but you don't make up a fake title and physically restrain a stranger.

I don't think it's a double standard at all for the OP to be supported here. You don't threaten to call the police. Either you do it or you don't. And you don't make up a fake title to give yourself perceived authority


If someone tried to grab my child or the stroller/carrier they were in I would be *screaming* at them to get their hands off. Unless you are in the situation where you WANT the police to come, you do NOT try to grab other people or their children
post #40 of 87
Heavenly, social work is my career choice as well. I see you're a mother of three; I am as well. I've been a teen mom, I've been on welfare, I've been poor, I've been stressed and hungry, I've had to seriously think of where I'm going to live and what I'm going to do for money, all while having children. I've dealt with overzeolous case workers who I felt were just going through the motions and didn't care, store clerks who were rude to me because I looked so young and used WIC checks. I've had good days and bad days, made lots of mistakes, and did lots of things right. I've personally witnessed both excellent parenting and child abuse. I thank my life experience for giving me some wisdom to know the difference between behaving humanly and behaving abusively-and let me tell you, telling that difference can be an art, especially when the behavior lies somewhere in the grey area-and there is no guarantee that you'll be right. In reality, we can pick apart the OP's story and imagine what we might or might not have done in either side of the equation, the the truth is, none of us will ever have any clue because we weren't there.

For one mother, tossing a jacket on a toddler after he/she keeps throwing it on the ground might just be a sign of exasperation and being pushed to the limit. For another, it might stem from an inability to understand and empathize with normal toddler behavior. My point is, you can't think, well, if *I* saw that, I'd report it! Opening a CPS investigation is a big deal. Most social workers, from what I've seen, really and truly care about children. However, they don't always think about how the children feel about possibly being separated from their parents based on very shaky allegations that may or may not be supported with evidence, how important intact families are, and how traumatic any separation from their parents will be. Children can be removed needlessly for things that are in the grey area when no other risk factors are present, and it can scar families forever. It can cause anxiety, PTSD, depression, paranoia, and fear on both the part of the child and the parent. It's something that workers should really pause and think about before making a move to pull a child, and I'm not so convinced that a lot of them do. I don't think it's because they have an agenda against families-I think it's because they fail to see the big picture and focus on tiny details that may not be an issue at all. We've come to a point in our society where we judge people harshly for doing things that are human. It's human to be frustrated. It's human to get angry, and yes, it's part of parenting that we sometimes lose our patience with our children, and yes, it's sometimes in public. Because of widely publicized cases of child abuse, we are all too aware that little signs can be indicative of a much bigger problem. And that's a good thing. However, we can't ignore the human element. We have to place ourselves in that mother's position. We don't know how her day has gone, or how many stressers she's dealt with. If I saw a mother do something like the OP did, and felt like I had to say something, I'd probably simply offer a sympathetic word and see how she reacted. Truly abusive mothers tend to blame the child for being "bad", or express negative emotions even when met with kindness. Being antagonistic is certainly not a good way to approach anyone in any state of mind, especially when there is no visible immediate danger to the child.
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